May 28, 2014


Book:  To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author:  Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre:  Young Adult Romance

“If people knew you, they would love you.”  He sounds so matter of fact.  Josh, you break my heart.  and you're a liar.  Because you know me, you know me better than almost anybody, and you don’t love me – Lara Jean

Synopsis via Goodreads:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all

My Summary:

Lara jean has never had a relationship.  Although she has loved a few boys, she has always done so from afar. One of them is Josh, her closest male friend and neighbor who is also her sister Margot's boyfriend.  

She never told anyone how she felt, no one knows except for the sheet of paper she wrote her love letter on, addressed and kept in her mother's hat box, believing this letter, along with a few others would never see the light of day.

Then an old friend and crush, Peter, confronts her about a letter she wrote for him...a letter from the hatbox...which meant only one thing... That by some mistake all the letters are finally going to reach their addressees.

Knowing she still has feelings for Josh and fearing the consequences of her letter, Lara lies to Josh and pretends she is seeing Peter.  Peter jumps into the fake relationship with much gusto since he also needs Lara Jean's help to get over his recent ex.

Lara is confident that she will never fall for Peter and vice versa, since they're such opposites in everything.  But there's more to Peter than what she thinks she knows, and eventually, she may have to let go of her fear of finally falling in love....

My Review:

If you've read Jenny Han's best selling The Summer I Turned Pretty series, you'd know that Han is an emotional writer.  By that I mean that you can't help but fall helplessly in love with her characters and thus be emotionally involved with what they are going through.  This is certainly true when I read To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

The relationship of Lara Jean's family captured my heart.  The love between the siblings ring true, especially the attachment and respect Lara has for her older sister Margot.  This is the very reason why, as soon as she found out about Josh's feelings for her sister, she tried to let go and forget her own feelings for the boy she loves. Her relationship with their youngest Kitty is also interesting and sweet.  Though they tease each other a lot, it is obvious how much they love each other.  This sibling love is a huge selling point for my attachment to the book.

Now on to Peter and Josh.
Josh is the
typical boy next door you wish would fall in love with you.  He is sweet, loyal and loving.  The perfect boy to bring home to the parents. 

Peter is the jock one can only love from afar.  Popular, very handsome and a bit selfish.  But there is more to him than meets the eye.  He is loving to his family, especially his mom, plus he takes care of Kitty.  He is easy to fall for.  And though he is not the most intelligent of men, he has what counts.... He is innately a good person.

I love how Han shows the flaws of Peter before the good parts that make the man so lovable And she does it so smoothly.  Without even noticing it, I stopped rooting for Josh and caring about Peter more.  Han has a way of making you see, understand And even like the flaws of each character.... Characters that we can relate to because there is a bit of them in all of us.

I just wish that Han wrote a definitive ending for it felt quite abrupt... Though on a hopeful and positive note. Or maybe that's just me liking in-your-face matter-of-fact endings that's basically spelled out with a kiss.  Yah, the obvious matters to me, unfortunately.

I do highly recommend this book.  It is another story beautifully told by Jenny Han.

Great News!!! Jenny Han is coming to Manila!  Her book signing is on June 21st and 22nd, 2014 for National Book Store.  Check out their facebook page for more details.  Don't miss this event!

Photos have been lifted from and National Book Store.

May 21, 2014

Book Review: TIME AFTER TIME by Tamara Ireland Stone

Book: Time After Time
Author:  Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Genre:  YA Romance; Fiction

“I don’t have anything, not one single thing, that I want.  I get to have this tiny little taste of all these incredible things but I don’t get to keep any of them.  I get to meet you and be part of your life..but I don’t get to hold on to any of it.  I can't stay here.  This isn’t my home.  And every time I have to go back, it kills me.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And it always will.”- Bennett

Synopsis Via Goodreads:

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds. 

not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

My Summary:

Picking up a few weeks after Time Between Us, Bennett still tries to be with Anna as much as he can although he has a harder time staying in the past especially after a Do-Over.

A do-over is when he purposely changes an event that has transpired using his time traveling abilities, mostly to save people from pain or death.  Anna was the first to convince him to do so to save her best friend from a tragic accident. He continues to help others with the best intentions till he realizes that it would kill him eventually as the pain he suffers after every do over gets worse, to the point that he bleeds excessively and loses actual days.

Then tragedy strikes Anna’s family.  Knowing he is the only one who could change everything tears him apart.  Should he rewrite Anna’s future or take a chance in losing the one person he never should have met in the first place?

My Review:

Knocked back is the term they use referring to Bennett getting pulled back to the time he originates from without his control.  And that’s how I feel after reading this.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a well written book with a nice plot and endearing characters.  But, I feel it has no resolution in the end because of the impossibility of the characters’ choices.

That said.  Both Anna and Bennett are good people.  I like that Anna, at the end of Time Between Us, grows a backbone that changes her future and Bennett’s.  Time After Time is told in Bennett’s point of view and it is refreshing

The idea of time travel interests me as well as the ripple effect so this had the perfect plot to hold my attention.  And in everything else, it really was an enjoyable read.  Perhaps I was expecting a different ending, a sadder yet believable conclusion.  But then again I suppose I shouldn’t bother for that’s what this whole thing is about isn’t it? Suspension of disbelief.  Pure and simple.  So keep that in mind before picking up this book.

All photos have been lifted from

May 01, 2014

Book Review: UNMASKING JULIET by Teri Wilson

Book: Unmasking Juliet
Author:  Teri Wilson
Publisher:  Harlequin
Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Women’s Fiction
Release Date:  May 27, 2014

“Why are you being so nice to me?”- Juliet
“I like you.”- Leo
 “You can’t like me and I can’t like you.”- Juliet
“The hell I can’t.  The feud has nothing to do with me.  I don’t believe in it.”- Leo
“Believe whatever you want.  Or don’t.  But I do.”- Juliet

Synopsis via NetGalley:

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family's chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy's confection dynasty. 

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a
prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family's struggling business, and Juliet figures it's a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet's fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet's not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she's ever tasted….

My Summary: 

One lovely night, Juliet lets go of her fears and kisses a beautiful man in the moonlight.  Not knowing who he is, she lets herself be carried away, feeling protected by the mask she wears at the ball.  Only to find out later that the man she felt so much with for such a short time is a Mezzanotte, a mortal enemy of the Arabella family to which she belongs.

Leo had just arrived home from a long stay in Paris to help revive his family's chocolate business.  He is a chocolatier with an eye on the prize: to push forth the popularity and sales of Mezzanotte chocolates. 

Meeting Juliet was not part of the plan, but never one to turn away from attraction, he
pursues Juliet and captures her heart.
Despite their families' intense dislike for one another, they feel a strong pull that keeps them together.  The question now is, how do they move forward when it seems they're battling against the impossible?

My Review:

From the title alone we already know that this is a play on the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet.  Taking on such a story is always a gamble as the romance has to be intense and readers should, if not fall in love with the protagonists, at least like them with a passion.  I'm glad to say the author succeeded.

The character of Juliet here is not the naive little girl the original one was.  Here she's nearing 30 but is still very much under the control of her mother, the family business and her boyfriend and business partner.  I like that she finds courage to go against everyone's expectations on her own, though with the inspiration and encouragement of gorgeous Leo, this book's version of Romeo.  He is just as romantic as Romeo and very good with his hands..... He is a chocolatier after all **wink**.

I love Leo because though he bends to accommodate family, he still has a will of his own, he knows what and who he wants and pushes for it despite the negativity coming from both families, especially his dictator of an uncle. 

A nice reuse of a beloved plot.  This book, though light in nature, does not disappoint.  It does have its dramatic moments but not enough to make me tear up. 

A good read to begin (or end) your summer....wherever you may be.